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Topic: Book Recommendation (Read 3477 times) previous topic - next topic


Considering spending some $ on bound printed matter. Igoe seems to have 2 books oft recommended, "Making Things Talk" -- which may be more Arduino oriented, and "Physical Computing" -- which may be more Stamp oriented. Both have a fair number of positive reviews, and 1 real negative one.

What would y'all recommend? "Physical Computing" or "Making Things Talk" or both?


I haven't read Physical Computing but recently "read" a copy of Making Things Talk that I had borrowed from our local library. I say "read" because I really just skimmed through it looking for interesting things...

My overall impression is that whether MTT (or quite possibly either) is worth purchasing for you probably comes down to how you like to learn. I would rather find the "low level" documentation (datasheets, source code, etc) and teach myself whereas some people would prefer to start with a complete working project design and learn by modifying that.

If you fall into the same category as me you probably wouldn't get too much out of MTT but if the second category sounds like you then MTT may well be useful for you.



Has anyone seen Embedded C Programming And The Atmel AVR, by by Richard H. Barnett.  Being as the Arduino uses AVR I was wondering how well this may relate or more to the point if it is worth the $103.00 pricetag.


I wanted to like Making Things Talk, but I still don't think I do.  There's a lot of useful information there, but it's buried in projects that require sensors and equipment that I don't have; and the projects themselves are really sort of stupid.  I suggest finding a copy and reading it first before investing.

I'm still in-between looking things up online and wanting to own a book.  I still buy a lot of reference books (for electronics as well as web programming, my "real job") but I end up relying on "the Google" and forums like this on for most of my info, since they're both a lot bigger and more up to date.


I was initially very apprehensive about buying Making Things Talk because it seemed like I was going to need to purchase a lot of different sensors and modules to do any of the projects. I took the plunge and bought the book anyway and I've been really, really happy with it.

I have yet to actually build any of the projects in the book. Instead, I went through the entire book and got a lot of ideas about how different things can be used together. I would say that I'm an advanced beginner with Arduino; I familiar with general electronics and I had done a little bit with Basic stamps before. Making Things Talk really helped me understand Arduino/Processing better and it also introduced me to AT commands (for Bluetooth and XBee), NMEA strings (GPS), and a variety of different communication modules/methods that I wasn't aware of before.


Right, MTT is really great, I imagine, when one has a pair of xbee or bluetooth radios that need to, well, talk. I myself have not needed these technologies but once I do, MTT will be one of the first references I turn too. Yes, there seems to be a lot of 'fluff' like the pseudo project examples that can be tricky to wade through. At least the software side of things is all arduprocessing.

Phys Comp is great for the beginner needing to hook up things like vregs or switches for the first time. But it is rather sad that it was written seconds before Arduino's time. The overall concepts of the software are ok but the specifics just dont apply and really get in the way.... Once you get used to programming in arduprocessing basic is just arcane. (Edsger Dykstra was right....)

I would suggest looking at MTT and see how you get along with the book. If you like it but it just starts out a little too 'high' and you need some more basics pick up Phys Comp. If you really need basics, like 'what is an electron?' kind of basic, pick up Mimms the III 'Getting Started in Electronics.' While written before people like us ever thought of using a microcontroller it has some good circuit stuff except for the adherence to electron flow as the rule of god (after all these years I still havent recovered from thinking about electron flow....).



Thanks, everybody. Sounds like a few of you are on the fence like me. Wow, $103 for a book. Are we talking college textbook?

Actually I'm pretty familiar with electronics, having read a lot of Forrest Mims in the late 70's, and earning a living herding trons around in the 80's and 90's. But, I spent most of 2000-2005 or so here or there doing this or that directly or indirectly helping to feed, clothe, and educate some very rural, very poor co-inhabitants of this planet. So I'm somewhat out of touch with what is available today. Cleaning out a closet a few months ago I came across a big ol' box of parts and that element missing from my life came rushing back at me ... I'm just not content when I don't have a soldering iron and a pile of parts on a desk someplace to absorb my creative energy.

Love Pascal, I can get by with C, but C++ creeps me. (The old crashing before the first line of main() thing.  :-? ) More than once have I hooked up a 7805, a 2732, and an 8051. But the ability to buy a 20MHz RISC CPU that is forgiving of supply voltage, has multi-channel A/D, PWM outputs, 20mA drive, onboard RAM & ROM, a free multi-platform development environment, and costs $6 (or less) qty 1 blows my mind. {  :o +  :) } Can't find the old UV PROM eraser, but looks like I don't need that anyway.


30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius. by Simon Monk.


But I am biased.
I write books about Arduino and Electronics: http://simonmonk.org


But I am biased.

What is this? "Revive A Dead Thread Day"? "Pimp My Book Day"?

I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


But I am biased.

And repetitive.
"Pete, it's a fool looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart." Ulysses Everett McGill.
Do not send technical questions via personal messaging - they will be ignored.


Yeah - sorry - both :)

This forum's dead threads are still a great resource for people.
I write books about Arduino and Electronics: http://simonmonk.org


30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius. by Simon Monk.

I downloaded that once, it wasn't very good.


Sep 20, 2010, 02:56 pm Last Edit: Sep 20, 2010, 03:03 pm by simon.monk Reason: 1
UltraMagnus, Sorry you didn't like it.

I may regret this, but anyone else out there bought it?

If so, what did you think?
I write books about Arduino and Electronics: http://simonmonk.org


I may regret this, but anyone else out there bought it?

If so, what did you think?

I picked it up because I needed something to help my 12 hour shifts at work go by a little faster and after putting in easily over 36 hours of reading time in I can say it's really good.  I received most of the components in the mail the other day so now I'm looking forward to trying out some more projects!

Andy R

I was initially put off by Making Things Talk cover. I thought it was about speech generation :) But having cracked the cover, it is pretty good. Check out the table of contents to see if it would be a good resource for you.

I find the web is generally a better resource for Arduino. After all, we all have different interests.

New users can just skip the book and get a kit. I started with something like this from AdaFruit: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=193

This looks cool too: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=170

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